How can we boost the Immune System naturally, so we are more resilient when exposed to a virus, bacteria or germs? The Immune System responds to our lifestyle and stress levels. When we do not feed our body the nutrients it needs to function well and/or we fear an upcoming event, our Immune System is affected.
There is a strong relationship between our immune system and healthy habits and boosting the immune system is important for our general health and well-being.
Besides washing hands, cleaning door handles and other surfaces that are touched often, we can implement the following.
When we are stressed or fear an upcoming or unknown event, the immune system is weakened which means that our natural defences are no longer strong enough to protect us from the viruses and bacteria we are exposed to.
What steps can we take to manage and lower stress levels? Deep breathing helps mind and body to let go of stress. It also helps the Parasympathetic Nervous System to be activated and this helps general relaxation. This can be done any time throughout the day.
Deep breathing also has a direct effect on the Lymphatic system. As it is activated, it flushes waste and toxins more readily and this means that all cells in the body are healthier and stronger.
This is one way to get rid of stagnation in the body, another is to move and exercise. A walk, using the stairs, stretching, this helps to boost immunity, and, another benefit is that the happy hormones flow more readily.
Cold showers are about much more than washing our bodies. I can hear you, what, too cold, I can't do that. I hear you, it is worse in winter but once used to them, it becomes much easier.
There are many benefits to having regular cold showers and one of them is that it is energizing, gets you ready for the day. Your body is ready to get into action and your mind is more focussed. You are also better able to control emotions with reduced stress, anxiety and depression.
As the cold water lands on your skin, muscles contract and relax. The heart rate and your breathing speed up, and these actions activate the lymphatic flow also. Congestion is cleared, blood travels faster through the body which means nutrients are carried around more efficiently.
Meditation is useful when done regularly. It is known to
- reduce anxiety and fear
- help with faster healing
- improve sleep
As we are more relaxed with improved sleep, our Immune System is stronger, and our health is more resilient when exposed to foreign matters.
Affirmations help. A positive and pro-active one I recently heard from one of my teachers is
I release all fear
and bring joy in my life
Our food intake is another very important part of supporting our immunity. Eating a basic, healthy diet is like putting the right fuel in your car, it runs better! Through generations and millennia, our bodies recognize the foods we eat. It becomes problematic when it comes to processed and sugary foods.
Processed foods have had ingredients
- removed to make them more palatable or extend the shelf life
- or added for similar reasons
Our cells do not recognize those foods and don’t know what to do with them. They are empty calories that hopefully are just flushed, or, in the worst-case scenario, they are stored in various tissues in the body, sometimes for a lifetime.
Foods high in refined sugar are low in those nutrients that support a healthy immune system. Sugary foods give a quick and short burst of energy! They interfere with the production of insulin and endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones. As these foods are nutrient poor, we are at greater risk for infections.
Sugar is highly addictive, more so than cocaine. This is a reason why it is hard to resist them. When I was breastfeeding my second baby, decades ago now, I’ve had that experience. For three weeks I had ice cream every night when the kids had gone to bed. I conned myself that the calcium in the ice cream was good for the breast milk. After three weeks I decided to stop this ritual and I was amazed by how I felt! I had withdrawal symptoms, and this lasted for five to seven days! I was shocked!
Sensible sun exposure has many benefits for our health and wellbeing and 5 to 10 minutes a day is enough to boost immune cell activity1.
Sunlight stimulates vitamin D production and increases the activity of T cells. These are white blood cells involved in immunity. With adequate vitamin D levels, the body can fight infection when exposed to a virus or bacteria, there is even a reduced risk of developing cancer2.
As sunlight enters the eyes, it lifts our mood and we feel less stressed. After a long, dark winter with short days, people’s energy levels and moods are lifted with the first rays of the sun shining on them. With a lighter look on life, our stress and fear levels decrease which in turn boosts our immunity.
As stated in this article, we can easily be mindful and pro-active in boosting our immune system so that our cells are stronger to deal with infectious diseases.